How do you manage menopause and work?
Employers have a duty to support employees affected by menopausal changes. Penny and Dionne work for large organisations who recognise the need to make adjustments to the working environment in order to get the most from their teams.
Dionne suggests changes placed on need rather than want and Penny tells us that communication is key.
Penny’s practical suggestions include moving closer to the bathroom, and the drinks chiller. Some employers host menopause cafes whilst others include a menopause assessment as part of their occupational health provision.
The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has many a story to tell.
‘As a younger Clinical Site Manager I can honestly say that I didn’t understand how hard it was for staff working on the hot wards and on their feet all night. I used to see them sweating profusely and worry they might have something serious going on until one of them explained about hot flushes. I didn’t know what I could do to help as this was about 10 years ago and it was never really talked about. I tried to support but had no idea whatsoever about how hard that must have been for them until I started going through it myself. I remember it clearly as I felt completely helpless.’
‘I once had to ask for an internal interview to be relocated to a cooler room because I was worried I would faint in the middle of it. That was received sensitively and with compassion towards me, although perhaps not for the director who had air conditioning in his office and was therefore kicked out! Since then the manager who was so kind to me has started going through it herself and has been able to talk to me about how she is feeling. It’s been good to be able to pay back for what she did for me.’
These experiences have ignorance at their core.
How do you think this can best be improved? More open communication or education? Any other suggestions? We are all ears. If you have an success stories, please tell us so that we can share your best practice.